A special one-off Yamaha R1 that “King” Kenny Roberts will ride at Laguna Seca at this year’s U.S. Grand Prix will be auctioned off to benefit an arts school in New York. The GYTR-equipped R1 with Yamaha’s 50th anniversary red and white paint scheme will be sold at Mecum’s Motorcycle Auction, Aug. 18, in Monterey […]
Yamaha To Build Cars By 2014
In a recent group interview at Yamaha Motor Company headquarters in Japan, company president Hiroyuki Yanagi announced plans for the company to enter into the automotive market by as early as 2014 — six years ahead of schedule.
If you’re a motorcyclist or musician, the Yamaha brand is likely very familiar to you. However, the company has a long history building, or designing, engines for the car industry. For example, Yamaha developed the engine for the 1967-1970 Toyota 2000GT, one of the early iconic Japanese sports cars. From there, Yamaha developed a four-cylinder engine for the Toyota Celica, the 3.0-liter V6 for the Ford Taurus SHO, a V8 engine for various Volvo products, and a V10 for the Lexus LFA.
The company’s decision to branch out into whole automobiles is a shock to some, but considering its diverse portfolio of motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, and its various four-wheel ventures, building an entire car may not be much of a stretch. At EICMA 2013, it already unveiled the Tricity urban commuter leaning three-wheeler, which is slated for production by the end of next year.
Yamaha’s first car will be a compact two-seater powered by a 1000cc gas engine. It’s very likely the engine will have little relation to the current YZF-R1, as it is highly oversquare for an automotive application. Not to mention transmission needs are entirely different. The company is also planning to launch a compact electric car as well. There’s no word yet as to whether these cars, or future Yamaha cars, are slated for the North American market.